Tag Archives: college applications

College Success, with a little help from us

By Deb Coco

I don’t believe we have posted one blog without stating that the landscape of college admissions is changing.  At our staff meeting last month, we had a round table discussion to wrap up the 2014 admissions season.  We all put our two cents in and we all have different experiences to discuss based on the students we worked with, but the one prevailing theme was this . . .all bets are now off.  What do we mean?  As one counselor stated  “I used to be able to predict with much more accuracy which students would be accepted to which schools; now I cannot do that. I can’t guarantee a family that their student will absolutely get in when they ask me point blank.”

The structure of acceptances has changed dramatically.  Now, more than ever, we believe that finding the right college admissions assistance is imperative.  At the College Advisor of New York, we tell families in our first meeting that we are committed to finding the “right fit” and we work extremely hard to achieve that.  Our students complete assessments and questionnaires with pointed and thought provoking questions that get to the bottom of who they are as a student and lifelong learner.  We all learn differently and what works for one student (a small class with individual instruction vs. a large lecture hall – college vs. university? ) does not work for another.  Our process whittles down all the options so that the campuses our families visit are accurate representations of where we feel kids will flourish.  This is a huge time and money saver because let’s face it – everything about college is expensive, including visiting them!

It is our belief, and our success rate bears this out, that by engaging in our process,  admissions success will improve dramatically.  The national average for admissions is 64%; at the College Advisor of New York, we can boast a 91% acceptance rate.  Our graduation rate is just as impressive; the national average lies around 52% and ours is 88%.  So although many bets are off, working with us as your college consultant will greatly increase your student’s ability to get admitted and graduate from college.

Our year end client surveys are beginning to come back to us, and we are thrilled by the difference we have made for our families.  We “helped make the process manageable”; “you challenged us to look at schools we might not have known about with wonderful results”; “you saved us time and money”; “we got a note in our daughter’s acceptance stating her essay was top notch!”  . . . and the list goes on.  As counselors, we can’t ask for more.  It is our goal to not only help our clients through this process but our hope is that they actually enjoy it.  Our students are asked to dig a little more deeply and explore more options than the average high school student.  Do they complain?  Sometimes .  Does it pay off?  Ask about our transfer rate.   That is our low statistic.

So, the take away from the staff meeting was that we can’t promise our families that we can get their child into the school of their choice.  Don’t trust a counselor who does. However, we can GREATLY increase your chances and, in the process, add some self discovery and give you peace of mind.  That we can guarantee.

Paying Less For College When You Don’t Qualify For Financial Aid

Only 47% of all undergraduate college students received federal financial aid in 2008.  So how did the rest pay the $200,000 bill at private colleges and the $70,000 at in-state public schools?   The answer is that most of them did not pay the sticker price at their college of choice.  Below I’ve identified 3 ways you can cut the cost of college even if you don’t qualify for financial aid.

1.  Go To A School You’ve Never Heard Of – Learn how to find, visit, apply to and attend a college at which you’re an appealing applicant.  Typically, these are schools that are not brand names.  By that, I don’t mean Harvard, Yale, and the rest of the Ivies, although those certainly qualify.  Instead, I mean schools like Villanova, Boston College, Amherst, Northwestern, and many others of similar ilk.  Why?  By virtue of their brand names, and the resulting public awareness, these schools are incredibly popular, which makes them receive more applications, be more selective, and therefore better able to shape their enrollment with strong academic students and diverse applicants of all types.  By attending a good college with a lesser name brand – what I call “finding the right fit” – you inherently increase your appeal as a candidate, thereby increasing your scholarship chances.  An experienced college admissions consultant can help you identify such schools, but the point is:  Find schools you’ve never heard of, and if they seem to be a good match, apply to them.

2.  Become an R.A. – Once you’re enrolled in your no-name school, find out what it takes to become a Resident Advisor.  Most colleges pay either your room and board, or a provide a stipend.  Not only will you cut your costs by $5,000 – $12,000 per year, you’ll learn a lot about leadership and interpersonal skills, not to mention the fact that you’ll enhance your post college resume.

3.  Work Hard During The Summers – Most college students are out of school by early May.  This means they get a jump on all of the high schoolers who are searching for similar summer jobs.  If they work every day for 3 months every summer, they should be able to earn and save several thousand dollars each year for spending money, books, and maybe even a small portion of tuition.  And every little bit helps!

Approaching college tuition strategically, can shave precious dollars off the most expensive investment many families will ever make.